The leg pain that caused Thomas Bieganek of Beaverton to seek immediate medical attention may have saved his life. The peripheral vascular disease that caused the pain was the reason he went to the hospital but a saccular abdominal aortic aneurysm was soon discovered by Dr. Omar P. Haqqani, MD, Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Vascular Health Clinics. Had it been left untreated, the aneurysm could have been fatal.
“Dr. Haqqani knew what it would do and he said, ‘We’re going to have to do something about your aneurysm,’” Thomas said. “We had to take care of it before it burst. If that had burst, that could have been the end of it for me.”
The aorta is widely known as the largest artery in the body. It is responsible for carrying blood from the heart to all connecting arteries and supplying the body with the necessary amount of oxygenated blood. An aortic aneurysm occurs when any of the three aortic segments balloon or bulge, referring to either the ascending aorta, aortic arch, or descending aorta. The medical terminology behind “abdominal” and “thoracic” aortic aneurysm applies to which region the condition occurs.
Thomas had experienced no symptoms from the saccular abdominal aortic aneurysm. Dr. Haqqani informed him that it is possible that no symptoms may be present until the aneurysm has significantly enlarged, leaked or ruptured. It was fortunate that Thomas had come to Dr. Haqqani when he did for his leg pain.
The symptoms that led Thomas to seek Dr. Haqqani’s help in the first place were typical of peripheral vascular disease. He had experienced pain in his left leg. Shooting pain also occurred in his right leg, especially in a toe on his right foot. Further complicating matters was a blood clot in the leg which Dr. Haqqani removed when Thomas was admitted to the hospital at 4:00 a.m.
When Dr. Haqqani saw the severity of Thomas’ condition, he postponed a trip abroad to solve the problem. On the right leg a laser was used to restore proper blood flow to the foot and, especially, Thomas’ aching toe. Thomas said the relief was immediate and that had the procedure not been done, he could have been forced to have the toe amputated.
“He delayed his vacation so he could work on the shortage of blood in my right foot,” said Thomas. “During the procedure, Dr. Haqqani asked about the pain in my toe. I said, ‘It’s the same pain that I had before.’ But before I got through saying that, the pain was gone.”
Thomas used a walker because of balance issues after the aneurysm was removed and the procedures were performed on both legs. Therapy was also prescribed and has gone well. His follow up visits take place at the Vascular Health Clinic in Gladwin, a short distance from his home in Beaverton. He credits Dr. Haqqani and those at Vascular Health Clinics for helping restore his life.
“What a wonderful gentleman with a very good bedside manner,” said Thomas of Dr. Haqqani. “He is a very knowledgeable cardiovascular doctor. I’m very pleased with him and the type of work that he and his staff are doing. It sure is a miracle what he did for my two legs and the aneurysm. I think he’s good for this area. There are so many people who die too young because of problems with circulation. I’m always saying that I was blessed by the Good Lord to have met this gentleman.
A former sales associate in the cemetery industry, Thomas is 83 years old. His wife, Marjorie (whom he affectionately calls “Mama”), is 87. Thomas says, “She can run circles around me.” Now that his aneurysm has been removed and his peripheral vascular disease is under control, he will have a better chance of keeping up with her.